I thank God, who chose me before the world began to propagate the Gospel According to Child Protection. Words fail me to give expression to how I feel when I get on my system or stand of my feet to do the battle of child protection. I feel very fulfilled, excited and above hall, I see myself in the hall of fame of those who live to giver successful expression to their God-ordained destiny.
I must also say that today, word fails me also to express the depth of my concern and sadness over the missing 200 girls, who were abducted from their institution learning, Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State in the midnight of Tuesday, April 15, 2014. There are indications that the children were taken to Sambisa Forest, a known hide-out of the Boko Haram insurgents, who took responsibility for the most irresponsibility act. As at today, it has been reported that all schools in Borno State have been closed because of attacks by militants. What a great feat for evil to achieve in broad daylight of the 21st century civilisation.
Hmmm…According to a report, titled, ‘Keep Away From Schools or We’ll Kill You’: Education Under Attack in Nigeria,” released by Amnesty International in October 2013, ‘the menace of Boko Haram on the educational sector of the country has been tragic with over 70 teachers and 100 students slaughtered and forcing about 15,000 potential students out of school.’
According to the report, as a result of to the unbridled attacks on teachers and pupils almost all schools in Bama, Baga, Jajeri, Umarari Garnam, Mai Malari, Mungono and Gamboru were forced to close between February 2012 and June 2013. Amnesty International regards the siege on the educational system in Nigeria as absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education as well as crime against humanity.
The report submitted most profoundly, ‘the Nigerian government is obliged, as part of its obligation under Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR, to protect everybody’s right to education and to take measures that prevent third parties from interfering with the enjoyment of the right.’
The real issue here is that in any state, the government and its agencies are the biggest social service provider. The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria says the security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary aim of Government. Obviously, this constitutional injunction seems to be missing on the agenda of the Nigerian state as of today.
There is only one big question, which flood my mind today: where do we go from here? Do we fold our arms and do nothing about the kidnapping of these precious souls, who are spending their 11th days in the custody of insurgents? If we must do something, what shall we do that will be effective in turning the tide against the insurgents? If we must do something, are we to focus on government or should we plead for mercy with the insurgents like the parents of the children have done now? Many are the questions, yet very few are the answers.
I write this piece today, not because I have all of the answers. I think I used the phrase, ‘not because I have all of the answers’ because of the optimism in me that we cannot be stranded. Or could be because I hate to bow to the dictates of vulnerability? I think what I originally wanted to say is that, ‘I do not have any of the answers.’ The situation and our collective responses both as a people and government, Nigeria biggest social service provider from the faultless perspective of the constitution seems the situation defy the logic of a 21st century idea of how a state should run.
But do you know one thing I am sure of? It is that evil does not have the capacity to triumph over good when men and women of conscience arise to do MEANINGFUL, STRATEGIC, HOLISTIC and FULL-PICTURE-ORIENTED battle. The foundation of the edifice of evil is straws and the pillars are made of reeds, yet our fear and lack of foresight make it look like the foundation is made of steel and the pillars are made of wrought iron. When we rise above our fear and short-sightedness, courage becomes the most effective tool against evil’s seeming impenetrable pillars of chicanery. I find direction in the words of Claire Boothe Luce that ‘there are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about then.’ The Holy Writ says, ‘now is our salvation nearer than we first believed’ because with God all things are possible.’
My advocacy today is not for finger point or sitting on the crashing and discredited seats of judgment and condemnation. My charge is for us to employ our highest level of sincerity to turn on and tune to the thinking mechanism of our collective conscience with a view to setting spiritual and social machinery, which is able to move us away from sporadic responses to the empty roaring of evil. The ultimate goal of the foregoing exercise will be to disarm evil by developing an enduring spiritual and social response mechanism that foresee the emergence of evil and stop it in its tracts. It is a mechanism that looks at the seed and not the forest; it is a mechanism that looks at the root and not the tree; it is mechanism that has no respect for tokenism of methods and contributions as a tool of social change; it is a mechanism that focuses on our sociology instead of our psychology, knowing that our psychology today is a product of our sociology yesterday; it is a mechanism that spend our spiritual fasting, hunger strike and prayers for quality direction on preventive measures instead of less effective curative much ado; above all, it is a mechanism that takes personal responsibility for change, having counted the cost and a commitment to be a long distance runner, fuelled by a sense of mission.
I think this was the spirit in William Wilberforce, the British politician, who commitment twenty years of his life to ending slave trade. A strategic agitation, which began like innocuous attacks of termites on a fortified palace of evil, later became a big conflagration, which consumed the seemingly invincible castle of slave trade. The question is where are the prophets? Where are the change makers? Where are the men and women of mission, who know and accept that they are born to give expression to and fulfil the noble cause of giving our children hope and a future?
You see, I do not come today with answers, I come with Hope. It is my well-considered opinion that evil is an organised entity with a very high rate of success in our clime. It cannot be displaced by crocodile-tears social interventions that draw its highest strength from the prevailing results of evil and disappear for a season, only to reappear when evil struck again. This makes the interventionists laughable both to nature (order of life) and the protagonist and perpetrator of evil. Organised evil will be conquered by better organised social interventions. A good cause with a weak strategy will forever be defeated by a bad cause with strong strategy until nature takes its normal course of subduing evil. But by the time nature takes its course, there are always many needless causalities. Montesquieu said it and I verily believe him, ‘power does not shift except for superior power.’ Quod Erat Demonstrandum.
I round up on a very sober note, saying I do not come with answers on how to rescue our children from insurgents. I only come with hope and this hope is dependent on our embracing sincerity of purpose in our intervention. If not so, like I prophesied during the #ChildNotBride saga, whether the children are released or not, the noisy celebration of agitation will soon be ended and we will return and crawl up to our zones, called comfort and it shall be business as usual until evil achieves another result…God forbid…
I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…Do have an INSPIRED weekend.